In the summer of 1945, Allied victory over Nazi Germany had been secured, but the conflict had left the British people exhausted and the nation financially crippled. To keep going, between 1939 and 1941 Britain had liquidated most of its overseas holdings, sacrificed most of its export trade, and borrowed to excess. The national feeling was that Britain had stood up for what was right in order to protect and safeguard the future of all humanity, while all around sat still.
As early as June 12th, in their reporting of the atrocity, many newspapers in the USA emphasised a sense of incredulity and revulsion at the fate of the village. What is more, there was talk of retribution for Lidice and the need for a definitive end to Nazism.
The two volunteers required to do the job were selected from the Free Czech Forces training in Scotland. The men had formed a close friendship and they volunteered together. Both were former non-commissioned officers in the Czech Army who had fled to France following the imposition of the Munich Agreement.